Corporal Eric Charles James Street

1/5th Bn. The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)

Leatherhead Town Memorial World War II


Service Number: 6095704
The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
1/5th Bn.
Died 25 October 1942
Age 27 years old
Buried or commemorated at
XXV. E. 11.
Additional Info
Son of Charles Harvey Street and Susan Charlott Street; husband of Matilda Annie Street, of Leatherhead, Surrey.
Personal Inscription

So far no press report of Eric Street's death has been found.

The Queen's Royal Surreys website gives a description of the events of 25 October 1942 during the Battle of El Alamein:

"Unfortunately, we are unable to put onto this web-site the War Diaries of the Battalions of the Second World War. This section of the website contains histories written by officers who served in the various actions outlined above. All too frequently "Old Soldiers" do not tell of the experiences of battle. However, these histories do give a feel of what our fathers and Grandfathers experienced. Many were overseas for over 7 years.

Throughout runs the theme of service, wholeheartedly given by men bound together by the spirit of comradeship based on the traditions of The Surrey Regiments. This section is dedicated to the 3,788 officers and men who never returned."

The Queen’s positions were so exposed that it was impossible for men to raise their heads above ground in most areas, and it was, therefore, very difficult to obtain any accurate picture of events during the hours of daylight. 2/Lt P.B. Kingsford was a platoon commander in ‘A’ Company of the 1/5th Queen’s, and spent most of the day pinned down by machine-gun fire. He has written the following account of his experiences during the 25th October:

“The 1/6th Queen’s were on our left but were being heavily mortared during the 25th. No tanks got through to support us as the gap in the minefield was being enfiladed from El Himeimat (‘two pimples’) which had been recaptured by the Germans.

The first sign of hope was when in the evening Italian parachutists in front of my platoon surrendered. I was short of men and sent my runner (Keohane by name) back with twenty-odd POWS!

The 1/6th Battalion thought we were being made prisoners and, as a result of heavy mortar fire, they were captured. After this all the mortars came on us and we had severe casualties. We could not go forward as German parachutists had taken over the Italian pill boxes, so Colonel East decided to make a dash back when darkness came, but things got so bad that he and a handful left before dark.

I had been shot through the leg and shrapnel went into my left thigh, and I was picked up next morning and taken to enemy trenches in the rear (which we had passed earlier). When I got up, I noticed a mortar bomb stuck in the rock an inch or two from my head! It had not gone off and, in retrospect, I realised I had been temporarily unconscious when it landed.”

Once again the casualties had been severe. 1/5th Queen’s lost one officer killed, four officers wounded, three officers missing, with other rank casualties of 10 killed, 47 wounded and 53 missing. 1/6th Queen’s had three officers killed, four wounded and three missing (known to have been taken prisoner) with 5 men killed, 42 wounded and 142 missing. Many of the missing eventually proved to have been killed or wounded.

His life

Eric was born in 1915 at Ashtead, Surrey

His father was Charles Harvey Street born  25 October 1861, in Milford [of which there are several], Ireland, the son of Harvey Street (1832-1869) and Sarah Fleming (who was born 25 June 1837 at Fisherton Anger, Salisbury, Wiltshire, died 1909).
He was twice married.

The first was on 25 October 1896 at St Peter's, Fulham, to Amelia Caroline Pay (1869-13 December 1902). They had three children of whom only Leslie (1897–1954), survived to know Eric. Amelia died in the same year as two of their children.

He died aged 78 and was buried on 11 September 1940 at St Giles, Ashtead, Surrey.

His mother was Charlotte Susan Hatton born 15 October 1882 to Thomas and Charlotte Hatton. She was baptised at St John the Baptist, Kentish Town, on February 6 1881. The address of her parents was 1A Falkland Road [Kentish Town].

They married at Ashtead Parish Church (St Giles) on 18 March 1905. The Register of Weddings details were:
Charles: age 42, widower, Brick Burner: 2 Ede's Cottages, Lower Ashtead: Father - Harvey Street, Wheelwright
Charlotte: age 25, spinster: Northfield Cottages, Lower Ashtead: Father - Daniel Thomas Hatton, Fireman

They had three daughter before Eric arrived - Olive May (1906-1956), Doris Mary 1908-1911), Dorothy Charlotte (1910-1911), so the family Eric knew was made up of his parents, Olive and his step-brother Leslie.

In the 1911 Census the family was living at 23 Caen Wood Rd, Ashtead. His father was described as a Journeyman Baker. By 1939 they had moved to 31 Caen Wood Rd, Ashtead.

Eric married Matilda Annie Messenger on 5 June 1937 at the parish church of St. Mary & St. Nicholas, Leatherhead.
Matilda was born in 1917 in Leatherhead  to George Messenger (1882-1919) and Annie Messenger née Freeman (1889-1942).

Their details in the Register of Weddings were:
Eric: age 22, Shop Assistant: 34 Oakhill Road, Ashtead: Father - Charles Harvey Street, Grocer
Matilda: age 22: Gravel Hill, Leatherhead: Father - George Messenger, Laundry Hand

They had two children:
Jeniffer A Street born in Ashtead 1938, died in 2016
Gillian M Street born and died in Ashtead in 1940.

In the 1939 England & Wales Register Eric and Matilda were living at 35 Church Road, Leatherhead, Surrey.

Eric died in 1942. In 1944 Matilda remarried, to Walter Frederick Trott. They had a son Timothy (1947-2003). For many years they lived at Byways in St Mary's Road, Leatherhead.

After the war

Eric is named on both the Ashtead and Leatherhead War Memorials.

Matilda's death in 2003  was registered at Guildford, Surrey. Her second husband Walter had died in 1966.

Eric Street is remembered on these memorials
Leatherhead Town Memorial
Leatherhead RBL Roll of Honour, Leatherhead Parish Church
Ashtead War Memorial (St George's)

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, his headstone, and any recollections of him

last updated 28 Jul 20